Williams Whittle recently just returned from exhibiting our agency at two fantastic NonProfit Marketing Conferences. This year we attended the AMA NonProfit Marketing Conference and the Bridge Conference. Luckily for us, they were both local.

Our leadership team decided in 2015 that we’d be exhibiting at both conferences. After all, NonProfit Marketers are OUR PEOPLE. Once we reserved our space, we were off to the races. Since preparing for a conference is no easy feat, I made a list of all the steps we took. They are listed below.

Step 1. Pick a Theme… and make it good. 

Ours was simple. We love working with people on their brand. So we ran with that. “Maybe It’s Your Brand” was born. We created our Brand Banner (directly below) as a way to help marketers figure out if they actually need to rebrand. Maybe It's Your Brand

Step 2. Determine some sort of budget.

You may not know exactly how much you want to spend, but you should decide if you want to spend several thousands of dollars vs. several hundreds.

Displays like the one below can be extremely pricey.

Trade show booth display

Also, you should consider all of  the swag options you can possibly give. Giveaways are essentially ice breakers. Often, people will wander by your table to see what you have to offer, and then learn about your business. We gave away stickies this year and jump drives last year. Both were fan favorites. (Who doesn’t need a jump drive?)

Step 3. Decide what design materials you need, and then have them created.

Make sure to include swag items in your design materials. This year, we revamped our brochure. If you haven’t seen it, it’s pretty nifty. Take a gander at it here.  We also made banners, t-shirts and business cards that matched. By the way, CustomInk is the best site for ordering t-shirts and receiving them quickly.

Step 4. Prepare for the conference itself.

We decided it’d be a great idea to let our email lists know that we’d be exhibiting at both conferences. That way, if someone received our emails but never met us in person they’d know where to look for us.  We received several mailers from other exhibitors, so that is a good option to consider as well.

Finally, we set up a check list and timeline of everything (including materials, like scissors and tape) we needed for the entire week we’d be out of the office.

Step 5. Show up (on time) to each conference. Don’t forget to actively participate.

Showing up and setting up was the easy part in comparison to creating design materials and prepping for the event. This year was the best year yet for Williams Whittle at each conference. Listening to some of the inspiring campaigns from Nonprofits such as the Truth Initiative and National Geographic really has helped push us out of the summer slump.

We learned so much at each conference that we wrote a blog post about it. Read more about it here.

Step 6. Follow up with Potential Clients.

As follow up to everyone we’ve met, we’ve either personally emailed them or sent them our fabulous postcard.

Here is a preview of the front of our postcard mailer.

Williams Whittle Conference Mailer

I’m personally very excited for next year’s NonProfit Conferences. I think it helps connect us with people who are working with awesome brands. While giving the opening Keynote at #AMANP Aaron Sherinian said, “Interaction with the public is the cake, not the frosting.” I happen to think the cake is the best part.

If you need help planning out what to do at your next conference, contact us! Also, if you attended the AMA NonProfit Conference, and didn’t get a chance to take pictures of our graphic recordings you can check them out here.

Written by:  Jordan Craig, Account Director, Williams Whittle Jordan Craig, Account Director, Williams Whittle